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Andrographis paniculata - (Burm.f.) Wall. ex Nees

Common Name Green Chireta, Creat, Nilavembu, Kirayat, Chuan Xin Lian, King of Bitters
Family Acanthaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Andrographis paniculata is an erect annual herb extremely bitter in taste in all parts of the plant body. The plant is known in north-eastern India as Maha-tita, literally "king of bitters", and known by various vernacular names (see the table below). As an Ayurveda herb it is known as Kalmegh or Kalamegha, meaning "dark cloud". It is also known as Bhumi-neem, meaning "neem of the ground", since the plant, though being a small annual herb, has a similar strong bitter taste as that of the large Neem tree (Azadirachta indica). In Malaysia, it is known as Hempedu Bumi, which literally means 'bile of earth' since it is one of the most bitter plants that are used in traditional medicine.
Habitats Village groves, roadsides, waste places, open sandy locations and fields, but also in monsoon and teak forest receiving only 10-20% of full light, at elevations from sea level to 1,600 metres[ 310 ].
Range E. Asia - India.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Andrographis paniculata Green Chireta, Creat, Nilavembu, Kirayat, Chuan Xin Lian, King of Bitters

H. Zell wikimedia.org
Andrographis paniculata Green Chireta, Creat, Nilavembu, Kirayat, Chuan Xin Lian, King of Bitters
H. Zell wikimedia.org


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A tropical and subtropical herb known for its bitter taste, Green Chireta or Andographis paniculata, is found in Asia, Australia, India, Laos, and Northeastern India. It is widely used as a medicinal plant. The roots and leaves are primarily used to reduce fever, tone the stomach, increase appetite, and generally improve one's health condition. It also has a significant anti-inflammatory effect and inhibits oedema. Powdered leaves are found to have the capacity to aid in common colds by shortening their duration. It can also be used as a treatment for fever and sore throat. Decoction of the leaves or roots can be used as a treatment for stomach pain, dysentery, typhus, cholera, influenza, and bronchitis. Infusion can be used for treating female disorders, dyspepsia, hypertension, gonorrhoea, jaundice, rheumatism, amenorrhoea, and torpid liver. When used as a poultice, it cures swollen legs or feet, vitiligo and piles. Further, the plant is used locally as a remedy for snake bites and for insect bites as well. It can also be a remedy for diabetes when used together with Orthosiphon aristatus. To attain maximum effect, leaves should be harvested when the inflorescence axis starts to grow. For the roots, harvesting should be made when the leaves start discolouring or wilting. The leaves are edible, occasionally mixed with vegetables. Green chireta is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds. Its leaf extract is reported as an effective pest control against various crop pests. Propagation is through seeds or herbaceous stem cuttings. Other Names: Bhuin, Chirota, Neemba.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Andrographis paniculata is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 0.3 m (1ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, Butterflies.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Andrographis subspathulata C.B.Clarke

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses:

The leaves are occasionally eaten mixed with other vegetables. It is a cultivated plant.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Alterative  Analgesic  Anthelmintic  Antibacterial  Antidiarrhoeal  Antihaemorrhoidal  Antiinflammatory  Antipyretic  
Antirheumatic  Bitter  Cholera  Diuretic  Dysentery  Febrifuge  Hypoglycaemic  
Hypotensive  Malaria  Mouthwash  Poultice  Skin  Stings  Stomachic  
Tonic  Vermifuge

Green chireta has a long history of traditional medicinal use in India, various parts of South-East Asia, Central America and the Caribbean[ 310 ]. The roots and leaves are considered to be alterative, anthelmintic, bitter, febrifuge, stomachic and tonic[ 46 ]. There has been a large amount of research into the effects of this plant, several medically active compounds have been identified with a wide range of effective actions[ 310 ]. The aerial parts of the plant contain a large number of diterpenes, whilst the presence of flavones in the root has also been reported[ 310 ]. Extracts and purified diterpenes and flavonoids have been investigated for a multitude of pharmacological effects. Trials using the leaf extract have concluded that the powdered leaves have the capacity to significantly shorten the duration of common colds and that the leaves can be as effective as paracetamol in relieving the fever and sore throat of people with pharyngotonsilitis [ 310 ] The leaves have also been shown to have significant anti-inflammatory effect and also significantly inhibit oedema[ 310 ] An ethanol extract of the leaves stimulates both antigen-specific and nonspecific immune responses more than the purified leaf extracts. An ethanol extract has also shown significant antipyretic activity. A standardized leaf extract exhibits significant antipyretic properties and is an effective analgesic[ 310 ]. The crude water extract of the leaves, as well as the semi-purified n-butanol and aqueous fractions, have shown significant hypotensive activity[ 310 ]. In one trial, a 10% infusion of the herb applied intravenously at 1 ml/kg bodyweight reduced the blood pressure by 6-10 mm Hg in 10-20 seconds[ 310 ]. An extract of the leaves has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels, whilst antithrombotic effects were also observed. It is believed that these effects might be at least partially due to flavones present in the extract[ 310 ]. Administered intraperitoneally, the diterpenes andrographiside and neoandrographolide (found in the leaves) have a significant protective effect on the liver. An extract of the leaves has shown antidiarrhoeal activity[ 310 ]. The diterpenes andrographolide and neoandrographolide isolated from the alcoholic extract showed potent antisecretory activity against Escherichia coli enterotoxin induced secretions. Various compounds have shown significant anti-ulcer properties. It is suggested that this effect is due to the antisecretory activity and protective effect on the gastric mucosa[ 310 ]. Oral administration of 20 mg of the dry leaf powder for 60 days has an antifertility effect in males[ 310 ]. The alcoholic extract of the rhizomes exhibits good in vitro anthelmintic activity against Ascaris lumbricoides[ 310 ]. Neoandrographolide, isolated from the leaves, exhibits significant antimalarial activity[ 310 ] Dehydroandrographolide succinic acid monoester, derived from andrographolide, has been found to inhibit the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in vitro[ 310 ]. A leaf infusion administered intraperitoneally, has an LD50 at 71.1 mg/10 g body weight (acute toxicity). At a concentration of 1 mg/kg it lowers the body temperature at least 2?C[ 310 ]. The plant used to be considered an effective remedy against snake bites and it is still used locally for this[ 310 ]. It has also been reported as useful to treat insect bites and, in combination with Orthosiphon aristatus, as a remedy for diabetes[ 310 ]. An infusion or sap from the crushed leaves has been recommended for the treatment of fever, as a tonic, and for itching skin eruptions[ 310 ]. A decoction of the leaves or roots is used against stomach-ache, dysentery, typhus, cholera, influenza and bronchitis, as a vermifuge, and is considered a diuretic[ 310 ]. Pills or infusions are also recommended to treat female disorders, dyspepsia, hypertension, rheumatism, gonorrhoea, amenorrhoea, torpid liver and jaundice[ 310 ]. Another use is as a poultice on swollen legs or feet, vitiligo and piles[ 310 ]. Furthermore, Andrographis paniculata is considered to be anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive, but reports on antibacterial activity are contradictory[ 310 ]. The leaves should be harvested when the inflorescence axis starts to grow, because the maximum accumulation of andrographolide is at that stage[ 310 ]. The roots are harvested when leaves start discolouring or wilting[ 310 ]. Yields of 1 - 1.5 kg fresh weight/plant are obtained from 7-month-old plants[ 310 ]. In general, the herb is used fresh and consumed within a few days after collection[ 310 ]. However, leaves and roots should be washed and dried in the sun or artificially before storage[ 310 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


Other uses rating: Low (2/5). Other Uses: Andrographis paniculata leaf extract is reported to have antifeedant and anti-oviposition activity against a number of crop pests like Callosobrunchus chinensis, Darcus dorsalis, Nephotettix cincticeps, Plutella xylostella, Sitophilus oryzae and Spodoptera litura[ 310 ]. Suitable for growing in containers.

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,600 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20° - 30°c, but can tolerate 14° - 38°c[ 418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,000 - 3,000mm, but tolerates 1,500 - 4,000mm[ 418 ]. Prefers a position in light shade, but can tolerate deeper shade and sunnier positions[ 418 ]. The plant has escaped from cultivation and becomes naturalized in many areas of the tropics[ 310 ]. In shading experiments, the optimal proved to be 20% shade with average dry-matter production of 13.2 g per 5-month-old plant[ 310 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - should be soaked for 24 hours and then dried before being sown[ 310 ]. Germination starts after 1 week and the mean germination rate is about 80%[ 310 ]. Cuttings consisting of 3 nodes taken from the upper third of 1-year-old plants have given the best results in vegetative propagation, with 80-90% rooting[ 310 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Green Chireta. Andrographis paniculata. Other common names are as follows: Bhuin, Chirota, Neemba, Creat, Nilavembu, Kirayat, Chuan Xin Lian, and King of Bitters.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Found In: Asia, Assam, Australia, India, Laos, Northeastern India, SE Asia.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

May be weedy

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Burm.f.) Wall. ex Nees

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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